Today on Context Florida:
Tim Bryce gives us what to expect from the GOP on Super Tuesday. Donald Trump has the momentum from victories in New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada. However, Bryce says this is a big contest and no primary should be taken for granted. Trump also has the advantage of holding good polling numbers going into Tuesday’s elections.
Cynthia Lee Starnes has spent almost 25 years studying alimony. If she has learned anything, she says it’s that alimony is complex. Reform can have unintended consequences and so should be the product of a careful, deliberative effort to understand and improve the law rather than a one-sided push to protect people who pay alimony by kicking recipients off the so-called “alimony gravy train.” Starnes encourages Floridians to urge Gov. Rick Scott to veto the Family Law/Alimony Reform bill that is working its way through the Legislature and to establish a task force to study options for reform. For the sake of the many Florida mothers and grandmothers who have invested in their families rather than a career or job, Scott should not sign alimony reform into law.
As the Florida Legislature works to repair the state’s unconstitutional death penalty sentencing laws, Julie Delegal talks about one murder victim’s mother, who delivered an unusual message to Tallahassee last week. “Put that money somewhere else,” Darlene Farah told lawmakers. Farah, who lives in Jacksonville, says that the $24 million spent on each death penalty case could be put to better use. Her figures come from the Death Penalty Information Center, which averaged the cost of implementing each of Florida’s 44 executions since 1976. That’s when the U.S. Supreme Court reinstated capital punishment. Much of that money is spent on lengthy appeals. And it’s those ceaseless appeals that can drag on for decades that Farah wants to avoid. She wants to spare her other two children the turmoil of repeatedly revisiting their sister’s murder case.
Greg Preble points out that it looks like there’s one more chance this year for the Legislature to decide whether to sensibly regulate hydraulic fracturing in Florida and it will happen this Tuesday at the Senate Committee on Appropriations. For those who view the failure of these bills as some kind of victory, you’re fooling yourselves. A “no” vote on Senate Bill 318 means another year without regulation. It does not mean a ban of fracking in Florida — a practice that is rarely even attempted here yet that has benefitted our nation tremendously. The reason we are now paying $1.70 per gallon for gasoline instead of $6, and $2 for natural gas instead of $13, is because fracking helped to create such an abundance of those resources that the bottom fell out of the market — basic supply and demand economics. The reason our air is getting cleaner is because natural gas has become more affordable than coal, and so our electricity generating plants are now burning it, instead of coal. The corresponding reduction in greenhouse gases has been massive.